tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 19, 2009 11:00am-12:00pm EST
even heavy flooding. two days before winter offici officially begins, a monster storm is pounding the east coast and all but shutting down some areas. one of the hardest hit is roanoke, virginia, where police have reported more than 300 accidents with a foot of snow. the governor has declared a state of emergency and at least 400 national guard soldiers have been called up. this is the scene further south in greensboro, north carolina. my goodness. snow, ice, and freezing rain socked the western part of the state, knocking out power to tens of thousands. and it's not just causing snow problems. in charleston, south carolina, heavier rain caused severe flooding and led to several road closures there due to water. dozens of people had to be rescued from their cars. cnn crews are in place right now with the latest on this massive storm. kate bolduan is in washington where a blizzard warning is in effect and a state of emergency has been declared. first to meteorologist reynolds wolf. he is in fredericksburg, virginia, where the snow has
been falling all morning long, and at times sideways, reynolds. >> reporter: absolutely right about that. i mean, it's been bad from washington, d.c., down here and many points in between. we've been talking about the big issues people have had on the roadways. it's a given. when you have intense snowfall and a lot of people on those major roadways trying to get from point a to point b, you're going to have major problems, and we've had hundreds of accidents overnight, hundreds stranded on the roadways. it will be something that will be very difficult to deal with on the roads because as the roads are cleared out, you have additional snowfall like here in fredericksburg. here in fredericksburg, at this particular street corner, the traffic has been pretty good. you've seen people come through. people coming through with the four-wheel drive vehicles, which is not a bad choice on a day like today. when you go out on the major roads, because it happens to be something that has pretty good traction, you don't need to do 70, 80 miles an hour. that's ridiculous. have some common sense. also notice if you're tuning in from home, you're going to see
quite a few snowflakes moving left to right or right to left across your screen due to the strong winds picking up and we can see that continue into the afternoon, also. now in terms of snowfall, we could see over a foot of snow in fredericksburg. up towards d.c., on average they have 18.2 inches of snowfall. check this out. a guy over here is having some issues with his car. let's see if we can get over here and -- he's got a detroit tigers sticker on the back of his car. we'll forgive him for that. dude, cut your wheel the other way, isle give you a big shove. isle give you a push. >> where are you from? >> what's that? >> where are you from? >> michigan. >> give it a gun and i'll give you a push and see if we can get you out of here. >> i have to go backwards a little first. >> hopefully that will help. this is something we've seen playing out up and down the state. not just virginia but parts of the carolinas, even in d.c. and
of course maryland. certainly some -- you know what? i'm going to let him deal with this a little bit. there you go. spinning a little bit. this is the reason why we don't want you guys out on the road. in terms of record snowfall, the record we've had in washington, d.c., was actually 28 inches of snow set back in 1922 in january. imagine that. the there's a chance we could see several feet of snow fall tonight and tomorrow. i don't know if we'll get to that record but there is that possibility. we have to go way back in time to where you've had a similar action like this play out in this part of the world. but again with the cold air in place and all that moisture from the atlantic, could be a busy time for millions of americans through this weekend. back to you guys. i'll see if i can help this guy get unstuck. back to you. >> stay safe out there, reynolds. >> reporter: absolutely. >> let's go to cnn's kate bolduan in washington. nearly two feet of snow? how is the d.c. government handling all of this?
>> reporter: well, so far they say they were really prepared for it and they continue to work at it. d.c.'s major, adrian fenty, he came out within the past hour to say so far there have not been major incidents. minor traffic accidents, people simply driving too fast in this snow. what's also helping is the fact that this is a weekend so it's giving crews and plows some opportunity with less cars on the road to really get out here. but as you see behind me, crews have been out here all throughout the morning but it's still a lot of snow falling, it's accumulating faster than they can get out here and clean it up. cars for the most part taking their time here. many are coming out here to join us on the national mall, people out here enjoying the weather and staying out of their car, which i would say is smart. but the mayor came out a short time ago, as i said, to speak about what the next 24/48 hours is going to look like. listen here.
>> i think people who are used to the normal storm in washington, d.c., would probably expect some kind of tapering off by now. but all indications are that, in fact, most of the snow is still to come, probably at least about 12 inches and maybe more. so for us and the government who are out plowing streets right now, there's even more work, more plowing, and more around the clock hours to go. >> reporter: so, as you said, they are hoping by monday morning rush hour to have these roads cleared up. but really, betty and rob, i'm becoming kind of a human measure of just how much snow is falling. over this way, take a look, people are actually playing a bit of football out here if you can imagine. i guess tackling would be a little easier and the fall would be a little softener this snow. behind me you should be able to
see the washington monument. no way you can see it now. on a clear day you would be able to see it. this is one of our cars that we drove out here this morning. you can see just from this how much snow has fallen in the hours that we have been here. a lot of snow. more to come, the mayor says, and as we said all morning, state and local officials across the northeast say best advice, stay off the roads if you can. many people can't resist coming out here this morning. >> it's fun to look at, fun to play in but not fun to try to get around in if you have someplace to go. >> reporter: especialthat's rig. >> especially if that's the airport and those flights aren't moving. senator majority leader harry reid will be stepping to the microphone shortly. looks like the democrats in the senate have the 60 votes needed for health care reform. as soon as he does, we are going to take that live. so stand by for that. meantime, let's get you the latest on the weather outside. rob, i know you've been following it all morning long as well as the rest of us. a couple of historic events
happening in our nation's capital today, that's for sure. we have winter storm warnings from north carolina up through parts of the east coast. the blue you see here around d.c. and around long island, the cape, that's blizzard warnings that are up, meaning winds could blow at times 35-plus miles an hour over a three-hour period. snow blowing sideways and reducing visibility dramatically. all right. what's increasing dramatically right now are the radar returns are the bright white you see here on your screen. this is all heavy snow that's about to head into the washington, d.c., area. it will come down one, maybe two inches an hour in spots here as the storm itself intensifies off the coastline and draws some of that moisture. the winds are going to intensify as well, hence the blizzard warning. here's what we think is going to happen as far as snowfall totals. about a foot where reynolds is west of washington, d.c., but as much as two feet in spots around the d.c. area. you go up to philadelphia 8 to ten inches, maybe a foot of snow there. and then up to new york city,
could see up to a foot of snow as well. then this whole storm system will slowly make its way off towards the northeast. a colossal nor'easter, an early winter snowstorm, no doubt about that. that is one for the record books. as far as folk who is live in new york city, who live in philadelphia, you're about to see snowfall increase for your area, as well. temperatures, often time, we talk about a rain/snow line, is it cold enough to see snow? 27, 28 in ft. lee, new jersey, and 22, 23 degrees in norristown, you're talking about temperatures that certainly are cold enough for snow. and the winds are going to be the other issue. how much wind do you think do we think is going to happen? atlantic city right now blowing 45 miles an hour. so that, my friends, is a storm. no doubt there's some spleet samuel alito mixing in there on the boardwalk and the waves are pounding so it is a storm of epic proportions across the jersey shore. we'll continue to monitor this with the storm and our reporters on the field and of course the
information that comes into the cnn weather center. in the meantime, senator harry reid has comments on the health care reform bill. what day is it? every part of this process, passing two very carefully crafted bills in the finance committee and the health committee into one comprehensive bill to reaching final consensus has been it's fair to say an enormous undertaking. we woldenuldn't be in this posi today without partners that i've had in this whole process. senators baucus, dodd, i just want to say a word, a short word about senator harkin. most of the work done -- and of
course this was done in the committees. the health committee met for weeks. you all saw that. finance committee met for months. you all saw that. senator kennedy died. we had a new chairman of the health committee. we have a lot of people in this senate, and that's the way it should be, with very large egos. senator harkin, who worked on that committee his entire career in the senate, became chairman as we know. he has been so helpful to us, never wanting any limelight or spotlight, in effect staying out of the way because he know most of the work had been done by senator dodd as kennedy turned over to him. so, tom harkin, thank you very much. from the very begin weg knew the end result had to save lives, save money, and save medicare.
we did that. we knew we had to stabilize, help secure for millions who didn't. we had to disclosure the cost of staying healthy and reduce the national debt. we did that. we had to stop insurance companies from denying health care to the sick. we're in the process of doing that. the bill we proposed a few weeks ago does every one of the things i mentioned. and the revisions being read right now on the senate floor are even stronger. some of the new elements, new programs to further rein in health care costs, make care more affordable by expanding small business tax credits. we did a lot the last few weeks in that regard, demand even greater accountability from insurance companies, create more choice and competition for consumers. we kept in mind as we were doing this legislation where we could to let the market control a lot of what takes place. but we also have a lot of controls to make sure that the
insurance industry doesn't go wild like they have with costs to people who have insurance policies. all these things will help lower costs for americans and find a level playing field between american families and the insurance industry. some who are progressives, they feel this bill doesn't go far enough, and there are others who say why didn't we get a public option? i like -- i spoke out loudly and strongly on it. but this bill, this bill will do so many good things for so many people. and we explained that just a few minutes ago. some on the right think this bill goes too far and they want it stopped. to them i say you're being --
you have a lack of understanding what the problems in america are today. spend a couple of days readsing our mail. i was talking on the senate floor about a letter i got last week. it said every night i pray, i don't know if p i should pray to die or stay alive to help my 26-year-old boy whose diabetes because of lack of health insurance has turned into addison's disease. how is that for a dad telling the world he doesn't know whether to pray to stay alive or die because he can't watch his son suffer? so i say to those people who want this thing stopped, they need to read our mail. a broken system cannot continue, and it will not continue. when president obama signs this bill under law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose.
all senate democrats stand shoulder to shoulder with president obama and the american people know that inaction is not an option. this bill is about providing quality affordable care, protecting consumers' rights, protecting our economy and making the hard choices necessary to do what is right. one of the senators in the caucus said i want on a separate chart all the tax incentives and tax credits in this bill. we're going to do that. it's almost $500 billion worth. throughout the many twists and turns of this process, while many have tried to knock us off course, we've stayed true to these principles and that's why we have succeeded and continued to succeed. we're going to take a few questions when my colleagues finish their statement, but at 1:00 today you're all going to have a detailed briefing by our staffs, and so save a lot of
your questions for that. senators baucus, dodd, and harkin. >> thank you, leader. we came to the floor with a good bill. it's a product of years of study and debate in the finance committee and also among many other people who spend a lot of time trying to help us get a much better health care system. our bill is fully paid for and it will reduce the national debt. it will protect consumers from harmful insurance company practices. it will provide billions in tax cuts to help working families and small businesses afford quality health insurance. the largest tax cut that congress has passed since the year 2001. it will extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million
americans. no small item. and drive down premium costs for all of us. the amendment introduced today by leader reid makes this good bill even better. it will provide even more consumer protections against harmful insurance industry practices. lit hold companies accountable for excessive increase in premium rates and require them to spend more on consumer benefits and less on profits. it will impose tighter restrictions on the limiting of annual benefits. it will enshowure that companie cannot discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. that goes into effect right away in 2010. it will provide tax credits to more small businesses. it will provide them right away, again, 2010. big improvement. it will provide more health insurance choices through a new
multistate option bill, offer consumers same health insurance that congress has today. and it will ensure even more access to quality health care for america's children and seniors and the medicare program. improvement the earlier bill. i look forward to a full, healthy discussion on this amendment, to working with my colleagues to pass quality health care reform in the coming days. >> well, let me first of all begin by thanking our leader, harry reid. a lot of people have been involved in this, obviously, this issue for a long time, but you have to have a team captain in a sense that brings everyone together. and we've been truly blessed to have harry reid as our leader through all of this. this has been as difficult a task as i've seen in my 30 years in the united states senate. and we're not done yet, obviously. we have work to be achieved. but this is a major hurd that will we will overcome in the coming days here when this product moves from the senate to the conference with our
colleagues in the house of representatives. so today we stand ready to pass a bill into law that finally makes access to quality health care a right for every american, not a privilege for a fortunate few in our country. this month, 69 years ago, franklin delano roosevelt outlined four freedoms -- the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. and one of the great fears that americans have lived with for generations is the fear that their child, their spouse, a loved one, they themselves would be hit with an illness for which they cannot receive treatment because they can't afford it, they can't see a doctor because they can't afford it. this bill does not guarantee you'll never get sick. it doesn't guarantee you're not going to die. all we're trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you'll never again have that fear that you'll
end up losing your home, your job, your retirement, your life savings because you've been afflicted by an illness through no fault of your own that we are dealing with the freedom, that rational freedom that all americans have that one day they will suffer the indignity of nogt knot being able to afford for the care of their family and loved ones. it frees them from the fear that if the they lose their jobs they won't find insurance. it frees them from the fear if they get sick they won't be able to afford the treatment they need. this bill frees americans from the fear that one illness, one accident could cost them everything, their homes, their life savings, absolutely everything. if a nation founded on freedom and sustained by unimaginable prosperity, this bill is long overdue, it is critically important. this goal or cause of ours is older than most of us who serve in the united states senate today. our path has been illuminated by
a torch that a long time ago and sustained for decades by good men and women who believed in fdr's vision of a nation free of fear. the man who carried this torch as long and as proudly as anyone here is with us only today in spirit. ted kennedy never expected that he or we could cure all of society's ills in one fell swoop. that's why over the years he and i and so many others fought together to make our country a little bit better, a little more secure, a little bit freer from those fears. ted kennedy and i fought for the family medical leave act, the patients' bill of rights, the children's health insurance program. he saw our efforts at broader health care reform full short under president nixon and president clinton. but with every step forward and every step back, ted kennedy never stopped believing that in the wealthiest country in history everyone should be guaranteed access to decent
health care. and he never stopped believing that in the freest country in history it would some day come to pass. that someday is upon us. we are prepared to pass legislation, guarantee that no american will ever again go broke because they got sick. no one will die because they couldn't afford the treatment they needed. this moment and these moments do not come often. we will not and we must not let it slip through our hands. tom? >> well, first of all, again, let me thank our leader, senator reid. you know, every team has a quarterback. he's been our quarterback. he's called the plays, and now we have the goal in sight. and we're going to go over that goal very shortly. i always say if you want to get anything to know about harry reid, you read a couple of books. first "the town that wouldn't die" about search light, but his
other book called "the good fight." and i've said this before, he's going to now have to have a revised edition and add his last chapter, another chapter on to that good fight. this has been a good fight, and harry reid has led that fight and we've won it. to max baucus, who bent over backwards, not only went the extra mile but the extra hundred miles to involve the minority in the process who did such a great job on finding this committee and bringing this bill forward. and to my great friend chris dodd, who did such a masterful job, masterful job of leading our committee and getting the bill through and has done such a great, masterful job on the floor in bringing these two things together. i just might make a little subnote here ha chris and max and i were all classmates together. we all came together in the congress, sworn in on the same day in 1975. a lot of things have been said
about the bill. i just use an analogy. i know a lot of my progressive friends have been upset that certain things weren't in it. but i put it this way -- what we're building here is not a mansion. it's a starter home. it's a starter home. but it's got a great foundation. we're expanding health care coverage to 31 million americans. it's got a great roof, protective roof in protecting people from abuses by insurance companies. and it has room for expansion and additions in the future. but if we don't get started with the starter home we'll never get there. so this is not the end of health care reform. this is the beginning of health care reform. i'm just proud to join our leader, harry reid and senator baucus and senator dodd in doing whatever we can to help make sure we get over the goal in the next few days and have the president sign it into law as soon as possible after the first
of the year. >> we'll take a few questions. [ inaudible question ] >> i worked with every democratic senator and many of the republican senators to come up with the merged bill and now the amendment to that merged bill. negotiation took place with us, people on this podium, with them sometimes individually. and ben nelson was just like the rest of them. we worked on things with him over a period of many, many weeks as we did with a number of other senators. so we have, as you look through
this bill, it's being read now on the floor, of course, you will see that there are a number of different interests the different senators have and you'll see those in the merged and in the manager's package. [ inaudible question ] >> -- state got 100% help from -- >> what's your question? >> it appears that dr. fitz has been removed. can you say why that was done and if this is related to that -- >> no, the doctor's fix was done because the doctors felt that was the best way to move forward. we all believe, certainly democrats believe, that the doctor's fix should be permanent. we certainly need to do that. in the bill that we had, we had a one-year doctor fix. they didn't want that. they're entitled to more than that, and we agree. that's why they support this legislation. there are a number of issues dealing with the doctor's fix and we're going to work on that as soon as we get back after the
holiday. yes. >> the reality is that senator nelson, more specifically the state of nebraska, if you read this, it looks like that is the one state that gets 100% help for medicare forever. he does get something other states don't get. >> i would say this. if you read the bill, which i'm sure you will, you'll find a number of states treated differently than other states. that's what legislation is all about -- compromise. it's -- it's compromise. it's -- i -- we worked on different things to get a number of different things including making efforts to get a few republican votes. so there are many things that you will look at in this legislation and say, i wonder why that happened? a lot of times you think that something was done that was -- well, that's how you got there, but most of the time that's really not true. some of the time it is. but with senator nelson, that was a minor part of the issues. we started working on that weeks
and weeks ago, that provision. >> senator reid, just to confirm, do you have 60 now? you have feingold, lincoln, you have everyone? >> seems that way. thank you very much. >> thank you, everybody. all right. we've been listening to majority leader harry reid and other members of the senate discuss really a win for the democrats when it comes to this health care reform package. and they have secured the 60 votes needed. as they were talking about that, that bill is being read right now on the senate floor. it could take up to eight hours for all of it to be read. the big question, though, that a lot of us are waiting to hear as we thai continue to read through it is what are the specific changes within the bill that they've come to an agreement on. let's go to cnn's brianna keilar. she joins us now from capitol hill.
and brianna, it seems like, you know, they're pretty pleased with the 60 votes that they have, but it's going to be a question as to whether the american public is pleased with the final bill once we understand exactly what's in it. >> reporter: no. certainly that will play into it, but i would say that for democrats, for senate democrats today, and just for congress in general, this is the most significant day of developments and really toward moving health care reform toward passage by congress. there's still another step, of course. as you know the house has voted. soon the senate will vote on this and this announcement today that a deal has been struck to get all of these democrats on board and get those 60 votes that are needed. no republican support. certainly they are missing from this in terms of lending their support in the form of votes. but right now it looks as if this key hurdle, this key goal has been met to get these 60 votes, something that was really looking dicey earlier in the
week, betty. >> this closure vote is based on a full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the senate and house. if there are material changes in that conference report different from this bill that adversely affect the agreement, i reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote -- let me repeat it. i reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes to this agreement in the conference report. and i will vote against it if that is the case. >> reporter: so that, there, is senator ben nelson, a social conservative who is against abortion rights. he was the last democratic holdout. he had serious concerns about the abortion language in this bill. he was concerned that it would allow taxpayer dollars to go towards paying for abortions. and he really did not like that
so he wanted a lot more restrictions in this bill. and he got those as partisan negotiations with liberal democrats and with senate majority leader harry reid. so he gives them that key 60th vote, because that's how many they need, to clear a key hurdle. it's going on a vote very early in the morning monday at 1:00 a.m. when they clear this key vote, key test vote on this health care reform bill, betty. >> all right. brianna keilar joining us live. thank you. i want to remind the viewers that the senator minority leader, mitch o'connell, will be speaking shortly. we'll hear how he feels about the situation being that 60 votes is believed to have been secured, which would create the passage of that. we're waiting for that. when that takes place, we'll bring it to you live. and some information about what the white house is saying about this down to the road on pennsylvania avenue.
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if you've had a heart attack caused by a completely blocked artery, another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike. a heart attack caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix taken with other heart medicines, goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone, to provide greater protection against heart attack or stroke and even death by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. ask your doctor about plavix. protection that helps save lives. people with stomach ulcers or other conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery.
certain genetic factors and some medicines, such as prilosec, may affect how plavix works. tell your doctor all the medicines you take, including aspirin, especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition reported sometimes less than 2 weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. all right. let's check in with the white house for any sort of reaction to the senators' work there on health care. dan lothian is there with details on that, plus the big news for the president out of copenhagen. dan, i assume the president is a happy man this morning. >> reporter: well, certainly a happy man. i heard from a senior administration official saying they would be making comment on this but so far no official word from the administration. but certainly a big day for is this administration. the president had wanted to get this wrapped up before christmas. it's certainly on its way. it's not a perfect bill, as the
president himself has pointed out. it does not have public option, but he believes that this bill will hold the insurance companies accountable, that it will not hurt people who are trying to get coverage with pre-existing conditions, and that ultimately will hold costs down. certainly no republicans jumping on board with this. and democrats had to really be pushed hard by this administration. you saw a lot going on behind the scenes and publicly by this administration trying to get democrats lined up behind each other. that appears to be the case and certainly good news for the white house. >> yes. senator nelson a statement before senator reid et al. but also a qualifier saying if anything changed down the road as they work out the details of this thing that he would recant his vote. so -- >> he points out it's not a done deal yet. yes, it's close as senator harkin pointed out, they've been out on a football field, the ball has been moved right there to the goal line but it has not gone across that line. they believe it will. but there are a lot of things that could still change but certainly it's moving in that
direction. >> so not a half victory but not a full-fledged victory for the president on that front. >> reporter: that's right. >> same deal with him coming back from copenhagen, the climate talks there making progress with china and other country, not binding progress but progress nonetheless. >> reporter: that's right. >> what's the word from the administration on that victory? >> reporter: that's right. it is nonbinding and that means that legally there's nothing that will force any of these countries to do anything to lower emissions. but the administration believes that this is a good step forward, that progress has been made, the president saying that this was meaningful and unprecedented. and he even talked about his critics making it very clear that he knew there would be critics and even acknowledged some of the criticism, but he took it head on. take a listen. >> what i think that some people are going to legitimately ask is, well, if it's not legally binding, what prevents us from ten years from now looking and saying, you know, everybody fell short of these goals and there's no consequences to them?
my response is, a, that's why i think we should still drive towards something more binding than it is, but that was not achievable at this conference. the second point that i'd make is that kyoto was legally binding, and everybody still fell short anyway. >> reporter: so the president comes back from copenhagen this time not completely disappointed as you may recall. the last time the president went to copenhagen to try to bring back the olympics to chicago he failed there. it appears yesterday throughout much of the day that the president would be coming back without an agreement. but he does come back, probably you couldn't call it the gold medal but certainly he comes back with something. you can call it a silver or a bronze but perhaps something else, but he does come back with something. they believe this is a big step forward. the president saying if they had sat by and tried to get something legally binding they
would have made no progress at all. rob? >> never hurts on on the podium, silver or bronze. >> reporter: that's right. >> dan lothian, thank you, live from washington. speaking of washington, it is a monster storm. >> oh, my goodness. the bull's-eye is right there on our nation's capital. we'll give you more information about the storm because it's affecting travel plans not only in d.c. >> it's canceling some of your travel plans, to be more specific. our josh levs joins us with more than that. i already have e-mails from people stuck at the airport saying all we can do is sit and watch you guys because the planes aren't coming and going. >> big shoutout to those at the airports. welcome to the "newsroom." but here's the deal. you know, it's not just affecting you. it's affecting people all over the country, because the way our air system works, ripple effects everywhere. what we have for you is key tools that will tell you about airports across the country and some really striking photos we're getting from people stuck in the storm, how they're finding ways to keep busy. release medicine fast
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our saturday senate coverage and storm coverage continues. >> we've been busy today. >> ripple effects will be felt across the country. if you are traveling, you definitely want to check before heading to the airport. >> no doubt. our josh levs is here to show us some really important websites that could save you a lot of time and headache as well. hey, josh. >> hey, there, betty. we showed this earlier in the show and we've been getting great responses to it. a lot of people say it's helping. i want to tell you those joining us now about the sites. take a look at these. you don't need to write them down. i'll show you a place at the end we've linked everything for you. let's zoom in. this is our story at cnn.com can some of the fascinating photos. what i want to do is show you the websites helping you
understand what's going on at airports nationwide. this one the accuweather.com. when you take a look here, you can see the section that's yellow. that's where they're expecting delays and in some cases cancellations throughout the day. and red is where they're expecting it at least throughout the morning. there's also this website from faa.gov. that's from the government. what they do is they give you the latest information from each airport in the country and little tiny green dots. you click on them and it will give you the latest up-to-date information about any airports you might be traveling through. orbitz has something similar where they highlight the major airports around the country, and they sometimes have faster information than they do with the government, which is why i'll give you the update there. also a lot of you facing the roads today. this is a website right here, national traffic and road closure information. if you're going to be driving and you're anywhere in that entire region, all you need to do is click on the individual state you'll be and boom, it will tell you what's going on with the roads there. let's go to the graphic so you can see where i posted links for all these things. you should be able to access if you have web on your cell phone.
all the links are posted for you at cnn.com/josh. you don't need a graphic to get that. you can know it by heart. let's do, this because i want you to take a look. this is pretty cool. we're getting some i-reports from around the country, and there you go, there you go, people, cnn.com/josh, also facebook and twitter. all the links we talked about. now let's check out these really nice pictures here. i like these a lot. we just got this i-report from ian bradshaw in dover, pennsylvania, talking about what's going on there. we are looking at -- this is the one i want to show you. some ponies, a rare breed of ponies is leading a thoroughbred back to the barn near dover, pennsylvania. nice picture there. what we're looking at here is called the first snowball fight of the season. this came to us from waynesville, north carolina, an i-reporter there. and i have some full screens. let's go to these because there are more pictures we have that came to us from an i-reporter this morning that are pretty
striking. these i believe are oming from daniels, west virginia. do we have those? there you go. daniels, west virginia. and sherry, an i-reporter for us, she sent us these pictures this morning. take a look at the next couple. you can get a sense of what it's like to be -- look at that. that's an suv buried. and you can see what it's like to be in that frozen winter land. take a look at that ruler. you might need to get close to your tv there. we're talking more than a foot and a half. rob, you were telling me earlier that's not shocking given the expectation, daniels, west virginia, not too crazy for a foot and a half there. given the way the storm was shaping up and being in the mountains there. but this picture pretty shocking, josh. check it out. that's the capitol. there's the dome. somewhere in there. it is whiteout conditions across d.c. snowfall rates are approaching 1 to 3 inches per hour and we have a blizzard warning in effect for d.c. and parts of long island.
tightness in my chest came back- i knew i had to see my doctor. he told me i had choices in controller medicines. we chose symbicort. symbicort starts to improve my lung function within 15 minutes. that's important to me because i know the two medicines in symbicort are beginning to treat my symptoms and helping me take control of my asthma. and that makes symbicort a good choice for me. symbicort will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. and should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort contains formoterol. medicines like formoterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. so, it is not for people whose asthma is well controlled on other asthma medicines. see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. i know symbicort won't replace a rescue inhaler. within 15 minutes symbicort starts to improve my lung function we're going to break into programming because senate minority leader mitch mcconnell
has stepped up to the microphones. let's take a listen. >> -- about a half a block from the hart building. i left the suburbs 20 years ago. i can't take it. >> so the party is at your house at 6:00. >> yeah, right. i'm not even sure the pizza stores are going to be able to deliver tonight. is everybody all set? already. let me just say in the beginning that if they were proud of this bill they wouldn't be doing it this way. they wouldn't be jamming it through in the middle of the night on the last weekend before christmas. and that really sums up, i think, what we've seen on full display here as they try to bob and weave and hide from the american people who have made it abundantly clear they do not support what they know about this bill. now we've got, as you know, an expanded version of it now. it's important that we are having it read so that we can figure out like 300 million other americans and all of you
what's in it. so i'm here with a message for the american people. this morning democratic leaders in washington stood on the senate floor and sprung a new piece of legislation on the american people that will have a profound impact on our nation. this is not renaming a post office. make no mistake, this bill will reshape our nation and our lives. and democrats are forcing a vote on it, as i indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the american people are preoccupied with christmas and not paying much attention to what they're doing. and the reason for that, obviously, is that we know from all the survey data that americans are overwhelmingly opposed to this bill. this bill is a legislative train wreck of historic proportions.
but they are so eager to claim a victory, so eager to claim a victory, they'll simply do anything to jam it through many the next few days. now, we're in the process of reading this bill like a lot of other people, but here's a few of the things that americans need to know. in medicare, of course, we know that the bill slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from medicare to fund a massive new government bureaucracy. we know there are cuts to hospitals. we know there are cuts to nursing homes. we know there are cuts to home health care. and we know there are cuts to hospice. with regard to taxes, the bill includes massive tax increases on american families and on american businesses. doing that at a time of
double-digit unemployment, taxes will make it much harder to create jobs as we try to come out of this economic slowdown. there are taxes on health insurance. there are taxes on medical devices. there are taxes on medicine. and there are taxes on working families with very high medical expenses. abortion. the bill includes permissive language on government-funded abortions, language that would lead the federal government to violate long-standing policies on abortion funding. the class act referred to earlier this year by the chairman of the budget committee as a ponzi scheme, is in the bill. medicaid. this is particularly interesting. the bill imposes massive burdens on states that are already
struggling under the weight of the costs of medicaid. time, ho gives special sweetheart deals to a select few states. interestingly enough, two states that stand out are nebraska and vermont. so what is the upshot of this for taxpayers elsewhere? taxpayers in kentucky and even in nevada and ohio and virginia and new york and michigan end up in effect paying more so that nebraska and vermont can get a special deal. so our conclusion would be this, based on what we know so far about the bill still being read and analyzed, not only by my
office but everybody else in the senate who hasn't seen it and all of you, our friends on the other side like to talk about making history. about the historic steps they're taking. the history that's being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that's being made here is the ignoring of the will of the american people. the history that's being made is that a bill that was sold as helping a major problem in our nation actually make as problem wor worse, because independent, non-partisan scorekeepers tell us that premiums, taxes and overall health care spending will actually go up under this bill. america, if this was a good bill with bipartisan support, i
assure you they would not be trying to pass this the weekend before christmas and in the middle of the night. and the reason i say the middle of the night, the next vote literally will be in the middle of the night. it will be at 1:00 a.m. monday morning. the presumption is, of course that no one will be watching. if this was a good bill with bipartisan support, if we had followed senator snowe's advice several weeks ago to sit down and write this bill in a way that it could pass the senate with 80 votes, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing. this is an absolute outrage that's being perpetrated on the american people. an absolute outrage. americans need to know what's going on, and we're going give
them every opportunity to learn as much as we can and they can about this as the process moves forward. take a few questions, if there are any. >> in addition to having the bill read which is going on now and insisting on all of your rights postcloture, do you plan use any other tactics for it not to pass by christmas? >> it's been my pattern not to announce in advance what kind of parliamentary moves we will make. the important thing for the american people to understand is that they're deeg jammed. there's an effort to deceive them, to try to pass this bill on purely partisan basis and at a time when their hope is, because of preoccupation with the christmas holidays that nobody will notice. well, i don't think that's going to work. this issue is pretty darn big. all the surveys indicate that people are paying attention. they are concerned about it.
as i said, this is not a post office bill. this is health care. and regardless of how old you are, every one the 300 million americans care about this bill. >> senator -- >> yes? >> they're hoping you guys will be able to yield back some time once they get closer monday, then it will kind of be over and you guys will eventually get back, without telegraphing procedural moves -- >> i don't want to get down on that procedure today. i want to talk about the outrage that has occurred here. this effort to jam and deceive the american people on the weekend before christmas on an issue of extraordinary magnitude. and you know, i think that people are rightly outraged. >> on your side of it, what is the obsession with christmas? what would magically happen if the senate democrats went home for a week and came back and
voted? it seems pretty clear -- >> we'd be happy to go home tomorrow and deal with this bill next year. i think that would be fine. we'd have an opportunity for people to get thoroughly familiar with what's in it. >> when you say, what's objectionable to you about the abortion language, the compromised that was reached? why do you think it's permissive? >> we're still analyzing it, but the early evaluation of the language is, as i said, and as you know, the bill is still being read for the first time by most -- first time most senators have had a chance to look tat. staff is still going through it. i can't give you the final definitive take on it, but i gave you earlier what the earlier, or early indications are that the abortion language is not adequate. >> talk about how the gop was outraged several days ago, about how you were debating a decoy
bill. a bait and switch, in fact, a parliamentary move to have the senators amendment read on the floor. can you talk about that? >> well, no one had seen it before today except for maybe harry and few people he could fit in a phone booth. so i think it was important to give everybody an opportunity to read and go through it. my staff is literally going through now, and what i've give unsaid to kind of a preliminary take on what's in there. we know the class act is in there. we know that democratic chairman budget committee called that a ponzi scheme. we know disparate treatment of medicaid in there, that they've plussed it in up vermont and nebraska two interesting places to flus up, and that taxpayers everywhere else will be paying for that. there are, i'm sure, other things in there. we're still taking a look at it and trying to evaluate what kind of special deals and other interesting insertions there
have been behind closed doors over the last few weeks. yes? >> can you talk about what the democrats are using their 60 votes this way and the acrimony these last few days what does this mean for the year? you've got one more year at least with them in this position? >> oh, i know -- you know, this is not about acrimony. this is about policy. this is, this bill is a monstrosity. a 2,100 monstrosity full of deals for people willing to vote for it and they're playing these kind of games with the nation's health care. this is an outrage, and needs to be called that, and so we're upset about it, but it's not a personal thing. acrimony assumes that we're you know, throwing things at each other. i know you all like to write stuff like that, but that's not the case. you know? it's not a comedy problem. it's a policy problem.
okay. thank you. >> there you have it. we've been listening to senator minority leader mitch mcconnell. very upset with what transpired today, obviously. we've learned democrats fear have the 60 votes necessary on health reform to get that passed. we'll continue to follow this story for you and bring you both sides of it throughout the day. stay right here watching cnn "saturday morning." xxxxxxx